A resilient Canberra Raiders side overcame a solid Parramatta at home in an effort to solidify their shaky start to the season.
Nick Cotric is an amazing talent
At just 18 years old, Nick Cotric has already made his mark in this outstanding Canberra backline. He sealed the game in the 69th minute with a spectacular solo try and was looked dangerous throughout the game.
He racked up 9 tackle busts, 2 line breaks and an offload in a display that showed everyone that he is here to stay. Some kicks that the Eels halves put down towards him had him looking a bit shaky but overall it was an impressive performance for someone so young, and he will only improve from here on in.
‘Leipana’ should have opponents scared
BJ Leilua and Jordan Rapana showed again today why they might be the best right edge in the competition. They combined on a few occasions to terrorise the Parramatta left edge defence, most notably when Rapana made a Jarryd Hayne-esque run down the sideline and passed inside for Blake Austin to go over.
Their start to the season hasn’t shown the scintillating form that we saw for most of last season but today was a very promising sign for Raiders fans. With Leilua’s ability to break tackles and offload the ball, and Rapana’s speed, strength and finishing ability it shouldn’t be long before we see these 2 linking up regularly to wreak havoc once again.
Important win for the home side
This game was a crucial win for the Raiders, they started the season with just 1 win from 4 games; the one win being their 46-6 thumping of a fairly average Wests Tigers side. It was important that they win over an Eels side that has looked very solid to start the season with their exciting halves pairing.
Canberra came into the contest looking to bounce back from the disappointment of last week’s 1 point loss to Brisbane. They managed to to tough it out in what was a tight contest early on, with scores locked at 6 after 25 minutes the home side scored 3 tries in 7 minutes to race out to a lead at half time. The Eels did score 2 early second half tries to bring them back within 4 at 22-18, but Nick Cotric’s late try and a penalty goal sealed it for the home side.
In Aidan Sezer’s 100th NRL game, Jarrod Croker scored his 100th try; with the win giving them both something extra to celebrate.
Bevan French looks very comfortable in the No.1 jumper
After being stuck out on the wing for most of last season, the young gun has been given his opportunity this season to occupy the fullback slot and has looked very much at home. He now has 3 tries and 2 try assists in his first 5 games, and at just 21 the Eels should be very excited about his potential.
He looked very comfortable under the high ball, not allowing many, if any, to bounce. His footwork on the ball continues to astound me, with his ability to manoeuvre in small spaces leaving a lot of defenders a bit lost. He showed great awareness to score the Eels’ first try when he came up in support with Brad Takairangi following an Eels break; he caught the inside ball and dived over.
Canberra Raiders 30
Tries: (Soliola, Austin, Leilua, Croker, Cotric)
Goals: (Croker 5)
Parramatta Eels 18
Tries: (French, Hoffmann, K. Pritchard)
Goals: (Gutherson 3)